Solar Music 2023
Like a whirlpool, it never ends: unexpected return of a much-loved veteran of bubblegum-pop scene.
It’s been a decade since Tommy Roe announced his retirement and submitted what was perceived to be his last album, but here he is again, with a fresh set of recordings – some fairly familiar, others never heard before – destined to remind the listener that the American singer has also always been a top-notch writer. And he never really stopped penning tuneful pieces, even though quite a few of those didn’t land on any of Roe’s singles or longplays, which is why there was a need to display some of Tommy’s lost treasures in a proper context, and he probably didn’t need a lot of persuading to enter the studio several times in recent years to lay down these ten numbers and let his still-young voice to fill the ether once more.
So don’t expect a new take on the evergreen “Dizzy” here: while “Here To Here” has mostly romance-minded numbers on it – including the record’s sole cover, the sublime “If I Were A Carpenter” – with the the chamber serenade “A Rose, A Candle And You” painting Roe as a crooner, “Kick Me Charlie” is a solid rhythm-and-blues cut, but the the album’s presumably autobiographical opener “Devil’s Soul Pie” must be the most unusual, serious-if-infectious, piece on display. Tommy may swing on “Traffic Jam” where keyboard splashes courtesy of producer Michael Franklin drive the brass towards big-band jazz, and on “Midnight Lights” where Tommy Carlton’s acoustic six-starting filigree will provide a perfect foil for vocals, yet the country-tinctured “Heather Honey” and “Frenchy And The Cowboy” offer raucous choruses to contrast the songs’ lyrical verses, thus giving the warbler to showcase different facets of his delivery.
The veteran might have another album in him – and, hopefully, his fans won’t have to wait another decade to hear it.